On our most recent IoT Podcast episode, Jeff left a message on our voicemail hotline because he wants a way to remotely monitor if his parents are taking their medications. This can be managed a few ways: one is less expensive and may require a little help from the “patients” while the other way costs more but is generally a “set it up and forget it solution”.
Both use a pill container with sensors that monitor if and when the device is opened to take a medicine dose. Both can also remind people to take their medicine. When the sensor realizes someone opened the container, it provides that information to a companion app on a nearby mobile phone, indicating that a dose has been taken.
To help solve Jeff’s problem, the Pillsy and Memo Box can also send notifications to a caregiver or family member. In this way, Jeff would know that his parents presumably took their medication. Since both devices use a mobile app, he’ll have to ensure that his parents have a phone with the app and are in the range of either the Pillsy or Memo Box as both use Bluetooth for connectivity to the mobile app. If that sounds like a challenge, an old handset that’s always plugged in and powered on near the medications could do the trick. As a reminder, in these products, the phone also needs to be near the medicine to trigger the reminder on the pill bottles.
For more automated options, we found the Pria smart healthcare companion from Black+Decker and MedMinder’s Maya. Both have monthly subscription fees: $10 a month for the Pria and $40 each month for the Maya. You also have to pay for the Pria, which is regularly priced at $799, while there’s no upfront charge for the Maya.
Why the cost difference? For starters, the Pria includes facial recognition so that it only dispenses medications to the proper person. It also has a video calling feature, health check-ins and more. Pria uses Wi-Fi, so it doesn’t require a companion app or phone for remote notifications. Maya has no such fancy features and looks like a traditional 28-day medicine case. However it is connected via cellular for notifications and if your pharmacist is willing, accepts pre-filled refill trays, so it’s a simpler device.
Again, there are a few options here and the best one will depend on your budget and ability for the solution to easily be connected for notifications.
To hear Jeff’s question in full, as well as our discussion on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast: